BOUJEE BITES

Best Restaurants: New Upscale Dining in Houston

From Gatsby's to Bludorn, a few restaurants have popped up during the pandemic.

By Megha McSwain April 26, 2022

March ranks as one of the city’s most exclusive at 28-seats.

Image: Julie Soefer

Houston may be a jeans and cowboy boots town at heart, but a crop of new, uber chic restaurant openings may have you reaching for the special occasion shoes and pocketbooks. Hip new dining concepts with impressive beverage programs, live music and pretty people aplenty are popping up in Montrose, the Heights, Rice Village and beyond. At these destination restaurants, proper attention is given to food and drink, but also the aesthetic and atmosphere, allowing for unforgettable dining moments each time — plus social media photos to last a lifetime.   

Check out eight buzzy, recently opened restaurants that you need to know about.

Image: Julie Soefer

Bludorn

Celeb chef Aaron Bludorn’s eponymous restaurant is the quintessential destination for a long, wine-fueled dinner and supreme people watching. Cozy banquettes pepper the dimly lit dining room, with diners happily huddling over well-built seafood towers and picture-perfect cocktails. Indulge in veal sweetbreads or a dry-aged New York strip with beef from local R-C Ranch. But be warned — plan ahead for your visit; tables are booked far in advance on weekdays and weekends alike. 

807 Taft St. Houston, TX 77019 (713) 999-0146 

Marmo, a modern Italian chophouse, at the sparkly, new Montrose Collective development.

Marmo

An impressive follow-up to River Oaks District hot spots Ouzo Bay and Loch Bar, Atlas Group has opened Marmo, a modern Italian chophouse, at the sparkly, new Montrose Collective development. The “see and be seen” destination features a live pianist nightly, a substantial 22-page wine list and a mouthwatering menu of hand-rolled pastas and dry-aged steaks. Insider tip: Visit during happy hour, available in the bar, lounge and patio Sunday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m., for $8 cocktails and $7 plates like veal Bolognese and Tuscan fried chicken.

888 Westheimer Road Suite 109 Houston, TX 77006 (832) 626-3400 

Trattoria Sophia

This rustic Italian restaurant is the most recent addition to Benjamin Berg’s impressive portfolio of restaurants, including B&B Butchers Steakhouse, Annie, Turner’s and BB Lemon. This “trattoria,” which features an elegant dining room and temperature-controlled patio where all focus centers around a live olive tree, is named for Berg’s firstborn daughter Sophia. The menu reflects true Italian indulgences, as in veal Milanese and cacio e pepe, while the beverage program was a collaboration with big-name mixologist and bar pro Alba Huerta of Julep.

911 W. 11th St. Houston, TX 77008 (713) 804-0429 

Gatsby’s

Upon opening its doors in 2021, Gatsby’s popularity spread like wildfire, resulting in the almost immediate expansion into its neighboring bar, appropriately coined the Daisy Buchanan Lounge. Today, the boutique steakhouse boasts 150 seats in the way of cozy booths and tables peppered throughout multiple rooms, and reservations are just as highly sought after. The mood is set with the sounds of Rat Pack hits and classic jazz, and the menu, made up of prime steaks, seafood and imaginative sides and desserts is worth the splurge.

4319 Montrose Blvd. Houston, TX 77006 (713) 393-7282

Snapper Orleans at Warwick.

Image: Warwick

Warwick

There is new blood flowing through the former Houston’s space near the Galleria, where the Warwick has taken up residence. The original concept is helmed by veteran chef Antoine Ware, who combines New American and Southern fare, drawing inspiration from his Cajun roots. Belly-filling eats include charbroiled Gulf oysters topped with cheese, butter and collard greens, blackened snapper with jambalaya risotto, and shrimp and grits. Ware also pays homage to the restaurant’s iconic predecessor by putting his own spin on Houston’s staples like the spinach and artichoke dip and Hawaiian ribeye.

5888 Westheimer Road Houston, TX 77057 (713) 534-1545

Gratify

Gratify began heating up Houston’s dining scene in the summer of ’21, and the seats have yet to cool. The whimsical space, vibey with baroque-inspired décor and a shimmering disco ball, packs in warm bodies in their best threads. A long boozy meal may begin with offerings from the raw bar or a selection of fine cheeses, followed by a taglierini pasta with shaved truffles. Weekend lunch is equally as sceney with guests enjoying long leisurely meals, enhanced with caviar and sparkling wine.  

5212 Morningside Drive Houston, TX 77005 (713) 524-7865

Le Jardinier is located inside the Kinder Building at the MFAH.

Le Jardinier

Le Jardinier, meaning “the gardener” in French, is one of the most attractive new openings in Houston. The artsy concept, located inside the Kinder Building at the MFAH, is an extension of the Cullen Sculpture Garden and, with its dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows, green velvet chairs and vintage limba wood wall installation, it gives diners a double dose of garden chic dining. The menu is a reflection of the freshest seasonal bounty, and dishes are as much works of art as the space itself. Explore the menu bit by bit or indulge wholly on the seasonal expression chef’s tasting menu.

5500 Main St. Suite 122 Houston, TX 77004 (713) 714-3015

March, a 28-seat restaurant that places a focus on the Mediterranean with six- and nine-course menus. 

Image: Julie Soefer

March

While there is no shortage of chef’s tasting experiences to journey your way through, the ticketed tasting menu at March ranks as one of the city’s most exclusive. The 28-seat restaurant places a focus on the Mediterranean with six- and nine-course menus reflecting the exchange of ingredients and overlap of ideas throughout the region’s rich history. With plenty of ground to cover, the menus are inspired by different places and change with the seasons, making it a delight to dine again and again.

1624 Westheimer Road Houston, TX 77006 (832) 380-2481

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